Ministry voices proposals for administrative territorial reform

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The Latvian Ministry for Environment and Regional Development (VARAM) has developed a new concept for the administrative territorial reform and submitted it to the ruling coalition parties, the ministry told BNS on Friday.

VARAM has proposed two models of the administrative territorial reform – one that would result in creation of 49 municipalities and nine large cities, while the other would create 29 territories to replace the existing arrangement under which Latvia is divided into 110 municipalities and nine large cities.

The ministry suggests that the reform should come in force in 2021 when Latvia is to have regular local elections.

The reform will require serious preparations, so discussions with municipal and social partners should be commenced well in advance of the completion deadline.

"We have to create a modern, result-oriented public administration, encourage remote work opportunities and introduce e-government principles in provision of public services,” said the Minister for Environment and Regional Development, Kaspars Gerhards.

VARAM said that the Latvian government had already concluded that the previous administrative territorial reform completed in summer 2009 had failed to achieve several important objectives.

For example, there are still many municipalities that fail to meet the minimum statutory threshold of at least 4,000 population per municipality.

Population in existing municipalities varies gr eatly from 1,000 to 24,000 people, and a number of municipalities have insufficient tax revenues to ensure effective governance and the required public services to the local population.

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